The AFL this week announced that Australia Plus has assumed the rights to broadcast matches in the Asia/Pacific region from Australia Network. The announcement follows and appears to be a broadening of the audience. We would like to hear from our Asia/Pacific readers how this is likely to affect them by posting a comment below.
Under the new arrangement that covers key markets across the Asia/Pacific region, Australia Plus will broadcast six matches per week during the Toyota AFL Premiership season, along with all matches in the Toyota AFL Finals Series. It will also broadcast a weekly highlights program across 28 weeks.
The following article written by Jon Ralph at the Herald Sun looks at the possibility of a new national AFL competition for women as early as 2017. The extraordinary rise in numbers for the women’s game nationally certainly warrants an extension of existing pathways for women to follow.
Here in Cairns I have had the pleasure of coaching some tremendously talented young women. Some have continued with existing pathways and opportunities, whilst others have sadly left the game. To have the ability to aspire to a national level will see more women remain in the game and pursue a broader dream.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has set in train ambitious plans for a national women’s football competition as early as 2017.
Women’s football is taking off in Victoria, with 52 senior women’s teams in seven divisions and plans for massive expansion in coming years.
Necessity is the mother of invention. So the saying goes. And there are times in the international world of Australian Rules football when that saying is very close to the mark. In the case of teachers trying to introduce the Australian game into every day can be a new invention to find ways to generate and maintain interest up against so many other options.
It is not that teachers do not have access to resources – a visit to the AFL website, or even a half decent scroll around google can unearth plenty of free documents, manuals, videos as well as a host of subscriptions for more.
But the isolation of a teacher who might be the only person for many miles trying to kick-start the game can be profound. In my own case I am lucky to have another keen teacher in the same school, but in past schools I have been a lone voice competing against rugby codes, soccer, basketball and more. And that’s here in Australia.
“Just give it [Australian Rules football] a go. Have a try, give it a taste and get a feel for the game.”
Such is the overriding message that Bachar Houli, Richmond footballer and Multicultural Ambassador for the game, delivers to his charges wherever he is visiting. In his role as ambassador, or through his own Bachar Houli Academy or any of his other community involvements, Bachar is in a unique position to convert young people to our game.
In a chat today with Bachar it was clear that he is passionate about the game, and equally passionate about the opportunities the game can give to young people. “I say to the kids I work with, especially in the Islamic schools, that if you give it a go you will understand and grow the game. The kids give it a try, from soccer or rugby backgrounds, and see that they already have many of the skills needed to play. From there it’s easy.”
Maybe, just maybe, Tijs Lejeune represents a new era of Australian Rules football followers. Since the beginning of the game in the mid-nineteenth century Australian Rules football has been adored and accepted as our own “Australian game”. Even in more recent times with the onset of international matches, recruiting, multicultural acceptance and general interest there was still a strong belief by many that the game might occasionally spark outside of home, but will forever remain an Australian product for Australian people.
But Tijs offers one tiny shred of evidence that a new generation is being born into the existing international push over the past couple of decades and are seeing the game in a more global way.
When talking about the game, Tijs admits “I've always loved viewing the international expansion articles of AFL in Europe, NZ, USA and love following the progress of the combines and the introduction of AFL footy players in America.”
As reported in the Brisbane Courier Mail newspaper, recent successes with the development of international players will see AFL clubs make greater efforts to scour the world for new talent. The past few years have seen more and more international players joining AFL clubs. Most notable are higher profile players such as Mike Pyke from Canada (Sydney Swans), Tadgh Kennelly (Sydney Swans), Marty Clarke (Collingwood) and a host of other Irish players scattered across the clubs.
Eric Wallace (North Melbourne) came to the club after the AFL Combine in the USA whilst Kurt Heatherley (Hawthorn) joined the club almost directly from New Zealand junior programs. The international experiments started years ago are now beginning to bear fruit, and this is likely to gather even more steam after the recent AFL Europe Combine in Dublin. The following Courier Mail article takes a closer look.
The Footy Almanac is a game by game account of every AFL match of the season. Over 150 shameless one-eyed writers tell the story of their day following the footy.
They are passionate fans. The result is a wonderful collection of footy writing: funny, insightful, one-eyed. They are from all walks of life and many varied locations, including international contributors. The contributions are selected by the editors from those submitted to the www.footyalmanac.com.au website during the season.
Some of the contributors giving the The Footy Almanac international flavour are Glen Brownstein from the USA, Peter Cresswell from NZ and Candian expat living in Australia Glen Mudie.
World Footy News scribe Prof. Stephen Alomes is a regular contributor to The Footy Almanac as well, his Round 5 Melbourne vs Gold Coast match report is featured and WFN editor Troy Thompson makes his Footy Almanac debut in this year’s edition.
The following story from Jennifer Phelan at afl.com details the granting of funding to Richmond player, Bachar Houli, to allow his leadership academy for Islamic participants to develop and grow further. In keeping with the previous article looking at the Multicultural Community Programs initiated by the AFL, the Bachar Houli Program and Bachar Houli Leadership Academy represent further cultural advances as the AFL itself, and through individual initiatives such as these, which will continue the link between the game and the communities and cultural groups which embrace it.
Bachar Houli has received a $200,000 grant from the Australian government to help push the 'Bachar Houli Program' into western Sydney. This year, the program engaged more than 5000 participants from Islamic schools across the country.
In 2015, the national Bachar Houli Leadership Academy, based at Punt Road, will include 35 participants – up from 25 – and will further increase its encouragement and engagement with young Muslims aged between 14-17 across Australia. And, it will create another leadership academy in western Sydney, which will include a further 35 participants.